Rivet Nuts & Snaps


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On each side of the car, behind the doors are three snaps that the top and boot cover attach to. These snaps are either installed with a pop rivet or a sheet metal screw and over time and from repeated use they loosen up and get wobbly. At least that's been my experience. Then if you try to drill out the rivet, the snap spins and messes up your paint. The ones that use sheet metal screws are only as good as the hole drilled into the body and they too loosen or strip. Basically a bad design in my mind so I set out to find a better way to attach the snaps without making it a permanent attachment. I ended up settling on using rivet nuts and snaps with a metal thread. It did require the purchase of a special tool but............we can always use more tools! I got the tool from www.Jegs.com   and while it cost more at $98 it did come with a complete assortment of seven mandrels (#6-32, 8-32, 10-32, 10-24, 1/4-20 & 5/16-18)  that others charge $20 apiece for! They also included an assortment of rivet nuts.

The key to using these successfully is getting the correct rivet nut with respect to grip range. Every rivet nut  has a stated grip range and if the metal you're inserting them into doesn't fall within that range, they won't hold. Here's the ones from McMaster that I ended up using. As you can see, you select by thread size or material thickness size and then all the critical specs are given including the drill bit size for the hole.


This is the Jegs.com Tool
Various nose pieces for the various mandrels
The mandrel on the bottom is for a #10-32 threaded rivet
The mandrel slides into this part
Then it all screws into the tool
The correct size nose piece gets screwed on to the tool
and the rivet nut screws on to the mandrel
Put it into a properly sized hole.....
Hold it firmly in place and.........

Squeeze the handles.....just like with regular old rivets. Once it's solidly set, you just use that top knurled knob to unscrew the mandrel from the rivet nut.

All done
A nice tight lip on the underside holds it in place

They come in all shapes, sizes and purposes. This one has long slotted sides that results in a super strong connector. The slotted sides fold up into wings on the underside.

This is the #10-32 threaded snap that I used
It just screws in to place and doesn't wobble around

Drilling holes in my car always makes me nervous! I did this in two steps starting with a smaller drill and then the required hole size (9/32") for the rivet. The paint is all chipped from the old snap that moved around too much.

You can see the end of the mandrel sticking through so depth is a consideration when using this tool.

First one is done and solidly in place! Whew.............

Here's the finished product with all three done and touch up paint applied. It actually makes it easier to attach the top now.